Niles sisters expand cosmetics line

Published 2:20 pm Tuesday, February 16, 2021

NILES – After selling around 1,600 pieces of their cosmetic line to date, sisters Neriah and Naomi Stephens have continued to pick up momentum with their line NS Cosmetics.

Naomi, 13, and Neriah, 11, officially launched their product line in September 2020. It all started eight months before that with a quest to create the perfect lip balm. Now, with 11 cosmetics products along with a cosmetic bag, NS Cosmetics, a combination of the girls’ names, has continued to grow its following.

“When the pandemic hit, me and my sister both had an interest in makeup, especially lip products,” Neriah said. “Lip gloss, lip balm, everything for your lips. We tended to notice that when we tried different products, they would make our lips burn, or even swell up because of the methanol and alcohol products have in it.”

The sisters decided to try some recipes to make their own.

“Once we figured out our final product, we gave it to our family,” Neriah said. “From there, we expanded into other cosmetic products.”

Mastering the original lip balm was a task that took the sisters about three months. Once that formula was set, it took between a month and a month and a half to get the lip gloss just right.

“You have to look up what the ingredients have, and what to put in the products,” Neriah said. “Our line is all organic, so finding all natural and organic ingredients can be difficult sometimes.”

Since the first two products launched, the brand has continued to grow on its lip products, and has expanded into other areas including eye lash serum and beard balm. Their rose petal line has grown to include a lip oil and lip gloss. Newer offerings include a watermelon lip scrub and matching lip balm.

The products have even gained a local fan of note, Niles Mayor Nick Shelton, who said on his Facebook page his wife, Allison, bought him NS Cosmetics beard balm for Christmas.

“It is the best I have ever used,” Shelton said in his post.

When the sisters decided to bring their products to the public and find their customer base, their parents were supportive.

Their parents, Ashley and Martinez, both have backgrounds that were assets to the sisters.

“My wife has a master’s degree in business administration. I have a bachelor’s in human services, and I do music entertainment,” Martinez said. “I do a lot of entertainment advertising and promoting.”

Writing a business plan was an integral step to the start-up process for Neriah and Naomi, and so was exposure.

“It was pretty hard when we first started off, because we didn’t know a lot,” Naomi said.

Naomi said their mother helped guide them on their business plan. Neriah said their parents having the skillset they did was “like a miracle.”

“We are blessed that we have parents who know how to work a business plan,” Neriah said.

“We helped and motivated, and they did the rest,” Martinez said. “We try to give them direction, and they listen. One thing I love to imbue to them, and my wife is the same, we want them to do things that they love. That way, they won’t feel forced or get bored easily, because they want to do it. I think that’s key.”

Martinez said that is how the family approaches the sisters’ involvement in sports as well. Right now, they both play volleyball and attend school at East Side Connections. The pandemic has not slowed down their busy schedules.

Adding to their schedule is bringing their products to their customers. Neriah and Naomi brought NS Cosmetics to the Apple Festival Harvest Market last year. They have since scheduled dates at markets and expos around the area, after learning how to sell together.

“That first experience was very scary because we’d never really been in a show,” Naomi said. “We had to learn how to talk to people. You don’t know what to expect. Once we got the hang of it, [Neriah] is the face of it. She can bring people in. Me? I’m the side person. I can get the money and stuff like that.”

Neriah said the response at the first show was “overwhelming.”

“We did get a lot of support from people, and it was our first-time experience,” Neriah said.

Today, each can tell you features to each product and the philosophy behind the line – quality, natural and organic ingredients to keep beauty simple.

NS Cosmetics can be found and purchased on its website, Product and brand updates may be found on Facebook at @NStephens07 and Instagram at @NSCosmetics07.

The brand can be found this weekend, Feb. 20 and 21 at The Grand LV, in Niles.

Later this year, NS Cosmetics can be found at other events around the area:

  • March 20 — Women’s Expo, Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 3 — Craft Show at the St. Joseph County Fair Grounds, South Bend, Indiana
  • April 16 to 18 — University Park Mall
  • 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 24 — Nappanee Spring Market, Clay Wood Event Center, Nappanee, Indiana
  • May 15 to 16 — Apple Festival Spring Market at the Four Flags Apple Festival Fair Grounds